The Department of Labor and Industry was created in 1913 to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth relating to the welfare and safety of industrial employees. It replaced the Department of Factory Inspection, an outgrowth of the Office of Factory Inspector, which had been established in 1889. The department administers the laws and programs relating to workmen’s compensation, workmen’s unemployment insurance, labor relations, mediation, minimum wages for women and minors, conditions of labor, fair employment practices, and employment security.


Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Labor and Industry, 1913-1916. (7 volumes) Arranged chronologically by year. Reports compiled by the Bureau of Statistics and Information for the Commissioner of Labor and Industry and sent to the General Assembly. These annual reports include employment and pay data charts on males, females, Negroes, Americans, and foreigners for various classes of industry. Information provided on the industries includes their average capital market value, number of days of operation, number of male and female employees, average daily wages, and the percentages of males, females, Negroes, and foreigners employed by the firms. Accident statistics are listed by industry and show the cause and nature of the mishap. Statistics on disease rates by industries are also given and later reports provide a breakdown of weekly wage rates. Narrative reports relate to Industrial Board standards and codes adopted, "timely tips" for employers and employers, and mediation and arbitration activities that occurred during the year. For the year 1915, reports from the Workmen’s Compensation Bureau and the state Workmen’s Insurance Fund were appended to these annual reports.

Biennial Report of the Department of Labor and Industry, 1919-1920. (1 volume) Report contains narratives from each of the bureaus within the department: Employment, Inspector General, Mediation and Arbitration, Workmen’s Compensation, Industrial Hygiene, and Engineering. The Industrial Board section summarizes petitions for approval of safety devices and industrial codes and rulings on labor practices. Examples of such practices include allowing minors to run motion picture machinery or to work with explosives and allowing women to work on railroads or on streetcars. Studies and surveys conducted by the Board include one on the "Colored" population of Pennsylvania and a cooperative study with Bryn Mawr College on safety. There is also a sketch detailing the wartime activities of the Industrial Board. The Workmen’s Compensation section of the reports shows the amount of money spent. The Mediation and Arbitration section discusses wages and capital lost from the 555 recorded strikes in 1920. The Employment report has statistics on soldiers returning to work and discusses the employment of immigrants. Finally, the report for the new Bureau of Rehabilitation contains a narrative description of the goals set for aiding the disabled.


Labor Dispute Case Files, 1938-1943, 1951-1953. (12 boxes) Arranged chronologically by year and thereunder alphabetically by name of company. A record of staff mediators’ preliminary, progress, and final reports on labor dispute cases handled by the Bureau of Mediation. Although the information furnished varies with the type of report, data provided generally include the filing date, file number and name of the company; location; type of industry; date of assignment; date dispute began and type of dispute; union affiliation; cause of dispute; number of employees of company by sex and number of employees directly or indirectly affected; status of negotiations prior to arrival, the location and date of the mediation conference; the names and organizations of the conference attendees; and a summary of the results of the conference. An example of the type of information that can be found relating to African Americans is a letter dated August 7, 1939, from A. Bernard Vogel, executive and vice president of the Rolling Green Memorial Park, at 18th and Christian Streets, Philadelphia. Mr. Vogel requested from Mr. James A. Newpher, director of the Bureau of Professional Licensing of Philadelphia, a re-examination for African American salesman Harry Weiner who had failed to pass his real estate examination. The letter stated, "as you know, our business is the sale of burial lots on an installment basis to members of the Colored Race only."


Biennial Report, 1921. (1 volume) The Bureau of Rehabilitation was created in 1920 to respond to the employment needs of wounded soldiers coming home from the war. The report describes the general principles of the Bureau, discusses the use of federal funds for civilian rehabilitation, and contains statistics on employees aided in finding new work. Data found include an enumeration of age, race, sex, marital status, whether illiterate and number of years of schooling, and the number of dependents. An interesting report on the rehabilitation problem in the coal mining industry is also present.

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